2021 Land Rover Defender 110 P400SE Review

2021 Land Rover Defender 110 P400SE ROAD TEST Review

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It only took about 7 decades to arrive but new Land Rover Defender is a worthy replacement for the venerable Land Rover (Defender) that started life back at the end of WWII.

That rudimentary 4WD has arguably the longest model run of any vehicle in history apart from the horse and cart and went through only a few revisions along the way forced by safety and emissions regulations.

So, the pressure was on to come up with a worthy successor and you will be pleased to know Land Rover has done it in the new Defender, a truly aspirational, proper 4WD that ticks all the boxes and really looks the part.

I got hold of a 3.0-litre petrol P400SE with a swag of options but the base car would have been totally satisfactory. Chuck on the faux chequer plate cladding and you’d be a happy camper.

The P400 has 400 horsepower, nearly  300kW, and couples that with 550Nm or torque. Needless to say performance wasn’t an issue, even towing 2.0 tonnes uphill accelerating – almost unheard of.

And the way it looks takes “tough” to another level.

What is even more impressive is the level of technology contained within Defender’s chunky body. There’s an electric 48 volt super charger that acts in concert with a twin scroll turbo ensuring defender is never found lacking in the get-go department.

There’s the extensive driver assist technology and of course high and low range AWD that gives Defender the required on and off road capability.

The test SE vehicle was mid spec’ but came with plenty of kit, however, Land Rover offer an extensive range of options that allows buyers to pretty much custom build their Defender… at a price.

I would definitely option up to the chequer plate cladding, snorkel, rubber floor and load space mats and possibly even consider the tough looking bonnet decal.

The test car starts at $102,736 but with the options fitted, including additional driver assist safety equipment, it ticked off at around  $120,000 plus on roads.

It gets you into a VX Toyota LandCruiser 200 Series V8 diesel so there’s something to deal with…

The Defender is brand new, the 200 Series is about to be replaced… with a petrol V6 and electric rear wheel drive….

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Exterior

Wow, everyone was a touch worried by what Land Rover would come up with as a replacement for Defender… they needn’t have been as this new one is a standout among a sea of clones in the SUV/4Wd segment.

It looks like a tough truck but at the same time, the square panels have a certain style that appeals especially when accentuated by the optional cladding and decals. Huge black wheels ad more the Defender’s visual appeal with mud-type tyres and a spare on the tail gate… where it should be on a ridgey didge fourbie.

I love the sarcastic look to the face and the c hunky yet modern overall shape with a perpendicular rear… straight up. The lights at both ends are striking and I even don’t mind the strange panel behind the rear doors.

Our vehicle was white with black highlights and it stopped people in the street.

Land Rover/Range Rover really do have some stunning lookers in their line-up except perhaps the hunch-back Discovery. You can’t kick goals every time.

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Interior

Like the outside, the inside is striking with a distinct practical tone that looks like nothing else on the market.

Everything is chunky and built for heavy use. The centre console is large topped by a big flip top padded lid with a sliding cover in front and oddments aperture underneath.

Selective use of faux Allen screws in various fascia is a neat touch as is the high mounted gear selector that resides pretty much in the dash and not the centre console.

Plenty of storage compartments are provided and the seats are big and comfy.

Interior room is plentiful expanded with the rear pews folded. Soft leather/textile upholstery is a good compromise for everyday use.

No issues with interior dimensions or access to Defender 110.

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Features

This was the mid spec SE and comes with a decent amount of kit like;

  • Hill start assist
  • Side hinge tailgate
  • Full size spare
  • Off road tyres
  • Auto high beam
  • Heated exterior mirrors
  • Skid plates
  • LED headlights

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Drive and Engine

Plenty of power comes from the 3.0-litre, direct injection, straight six cylinder, petrol engine with both turbo charging and an electric 48-volt supercharger boosting efficiency.

At no time is the P400 Defender lacking in performance. Towing was an absolute cinch even uphills where the P400 will accelerate with 2.0-tones on the back…. pretty bloody good if you ask me.

Fuel economy wasn’t that bad towing with the test vehicle returning about 15-litres/100km on a steady tow.

The engine has a pleasing snarl to it when you plant the right foot accentuated in this case by the optional snorkel that even added a turbo whistle at full throttle with the window down.

Normal driving will get around 10.0 litres/100km assisted by Defender’s efficient 8-speed auto transmission.

It drives like a luxury fourbie around town and on the freeway… just like many other Land Rover/Range Rover products.

The handling is good, with air suspension offering a firm through to soft ride as required.

No complaints about the brakes either.

It’s an excellent vehicle to drive in all environments and yes we took it off road where the Defender acquitted itself as expected – no problem, thanks in part to Terrain Response dial-up settings.

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Safety

Five stars thank you. The SE doesn’t get all driver assist tech offered by Land Rover as some is optional but what you get is pretty much all you need including autonomous emergency braking, corner brake control, tyre pressure monitor, 360 degree camera, rear traffic alert, traffic sign recognition and plenty more.

It’s a weighty beast at 2360kg but has a big tyre footprint and the latest chassis construction technology.

Good Bits

  • Looks awesome
  • Goes anywhere
  • Superb performance and dynamics (Terrain Response)

Not So Good Bits

  • Price too easy to escalate
  • Warranty
  • Toyota LandCruiser 200 money???

Summary

Loved this vehicle, it looks impressive, rides like a limo, goes anywhere, has obscene performance (6.1 seconds  0-100kmh) tows like a beauty and is completely different to many of the cloned fourbies you see around these days. Wonder what the turbo diesel six is like….

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Facts and Figures: 2021 Land Rover Defender 110 P400

  • Engine: 3.0L six-cylinder turbo petrol producing 294kW/550Nm
  • Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
  • Warranty: 3 years/ 100,000km
  • Safety: Five stars
  • Origin: UK
  • Price: from $$102,736* MLP

*MLP – Manufacturers List Price includes GST and LCT but excluding statutory charges, dealer costs and dealer delivery. See your dealer for RDAP. Does not include price of any options.

Also Look At

Overall Rating Land Rover Defender P400 SE
  • 8/10
    Behind the Wheel - 8/10
  • 8/10
    Comfort - 8/10
  • 8/10
    Equipment - 8/10
  • 8/10
    Performance - 8/10
  • 8/10
    Ride and Handling - 8/10
  • 8/10
    Practicality - 8/10
  • 9/10
    Fit for Purpose - 9/10
  • 10/10
    Towing Ability - 10/10
  • 10/10
    Off Road Ability - 10/10
  • 7/10
    Value for Money - 7/10
8.4/10

Summary

Loved this vehicle, it looks impressive, rides like a limo, goes anywhere, has obscene performance (6.1 seconds  0-100kmh) tows like a beauty and is completely different to many of the cloned fourbies you see around these days. Wonder what the turbo diesel six is like….



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